Highlighting the Lowlights: Ryan Sickler Interview

“I go to walk out of the diner, and I start to look around. I see there’s a lot of honeydew left on the tables. I think, “Oh man, nobody likes to fuck with the honeydew.” I started thinking about this perfectly good fruit that was thrown away, and thought, “oh, I’m a honeydew.”

For over two decades, Ryan Sickler has been hustling as a comedian, producer, writer, podcaster, and content creator. All while being a single father, he was touring the country and co-hosting The Crab Feast podcast with his friend and fellow comedian, Jay Larson. The Crab Feast lasted about eight years, Sickler and Larson deciding to end the show after recording over 300 episodes. 

One of Ryan’s earliest memories of comedy was listening in on his father while he watched Richard Pryor. Sickler wouldn’t be able to contain his laughs, eventually outing himself as he hid from sight. When his dad heard, he called his son into the room and sat him down next to him. Instead of being sent back to bed, the two started to watch the comedy special together.

Pryor’s storytelling and originality would make an impression on the Baltimore native that would change the course of his life. Sickler didn’t know it at the time, but what he was watching his hero do would become his entire life. However, the world of comedy has changed drastically since Sickler was a boy watching Richard Pryor with his dad. 

Broadcasting brought forth new forms of storytelling, with the introduction of podcasting. The internet would connect everybody from around the world in a way no one could have expected. The internet and, apps like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok have allowed people to create, post, and view free content whenever they choose. 

“Well, the old saying of ‘Content is king’ is absolutely true,” Sickler said. “People want and want and want. Especially if they’re a fan of yours. The benefit of technology is that it allows you to express yourself creatively immediately.”

“I want to give comedians credit. When I started off, we just wanted to tell a couple of jokes and be on a couple of sitcoms and movies. And hopefully get your own special. No one was even talking about podcasting back then. I mean, to take a platform and run with it the way we have and do well with it?” 

Sickler has every right to be proud of what comedians have come to accomplish in the last decade. With the likes of Joe Rogan signing a hundred-million-dollar deal for his podcast to appear on a top streaming platform like Spotify, comedians have adapted to the podcast world tremendously. 

“We are now producing, creating, (getting) the equipment, and everything that goes into it. It has changed very quickly into a level of production that comedians have brought to the platform,” said Sickler. 

Rogan also made an impact on the comedy world with his recent move from Los Angeles to Houston. More comedians continue to leave L.A. because of cost of living, the homelessness crisis, living conditions, and uncertainty as to when comedy clubs will be back to normal as the COVID-19 pandemic still rages. 

“Listen man, Joe Rogan is changing everything. He’s changed the game. This move is the Howard Stern to Sirius XM. Going to Spotify and dominating like that. I will always root for the comic. I don’t care how ever big he gets, he’s an underdog forever. I love the look of the new studio, as well. He’s always changing the game.”

The “City of Angels” has been a beacon in entertainment for decades, but for comedy, it’s been crucial in producing most of the top comedians we know today. The move of Joe Rogan and other comedians won’t kill the comedy scene in L.A., but it does shift the idea of having to be in Los Angeles (or even New York) to make it as a comedian. It’s a shift that Sickler not only sees and acknowledges, but more importantly, understands. 

“I think it’s smart. If you’re an entertainer, you have the money, and you’re now in the middle of the country, you’ve eliminated five-and-a-half-hour flights. You’re not on a plane all day. You’re getting home to your family quicker, and financially you don’t have any (State) income tax,” said Sickler. 

“A lot of these guys started doing free shows. They work their ass off. California is putting you into a 54% tax bracket, and that’s before commission, and all the other shit you have to pay out. You’re looking at 75-80% of your money taken away.”

When Sickler found himself staring at leftover bowls of honeydew, that’s when it hit him. He’d marry his career of comedy and art of storytelling to create The Honeydew podcast.

“I was sitting in a diner one night and I got my fruit bowl. I ate all the fruit, but I didn’t eat the honeydew. It’s not like I hate honeydew. It’s just, I don’t fuck with the honeydew, you know? It’s the least desirable in that bowl for me,” Sickler explained.

“I’ve been thrown away plenty of times. There is nothing wrong with me, I’m a honeydew. My whole life story is a honeydew story. But I don’t want to just focus on someone’s life story. Any of those stories where you’ve been thrown away, overworked, underpaid, overlooked, picked last, embarrassed, cheated on, broken up with, divorced, you name it. I want to talk about it, and I want to laugh at it. Every Wednesday we’ll be highlighting the lowlights right here at Your Mom’s House Studios,” as explained by Sickler during the introductory episode.

Sickler would get help on the podcast from his good friends, and comedians, Tom Segura and Christina Pazsitzky. Segura and Pazsitzky host a comedy podcast called Your Mom’s House. The married couple over at YMH have been in the comedy podcast space for years now. They’ve been able to create YMH Studios, which is where they produce other shows that also appear on the YMH YouTube channel. 

To those unaware of what Your Mom’s House is, it’s a comedy channel that produces hilarious shows that truly push the boundaries with what they’re able to show and joke about. It’s a crazy, bizarre, and unique channel that is only akin to the Howard Stern Show. It’s comedy with no restrictions.

The first time Sickler and Segura met was right as Ryan had just gotten off stage. As Sickler walked off, Segura approached him and said, “I thought you were a black guy!” The two shared a laugh over Sickler’s heavy Baltimore accent and went on to not only become great friends, but supporters of another as they both were trying to make it as a comedian.

“He is absolutely everything you think. That is who he is. He’s funny all the fucking time. But he can also be very serious, of course. You can also have a very serious conversation with Tom Segura, an intelligent and deep conversation with Tom. He speaks multiple languages. He’s very intelligent.”

Fans always know they’re in for a treat whenever the duo get together to make content. While even living with each other at one point, Ryan and Tom had already been creating together for years. The pair co-wrote and starred in the comedy web series, Cutman

“I learned a lot from Tom (Segura). He’s not just a friend, but a mentor, as well. I pay attention to Tom; I wouldn’t be here without him. Watch, if Tom Segura would’ve pitched Your Mom’s House to a network, they would’ve told him no! They would’ve told me no about the podcast,” said Sickler.

“In addition to being one of the funniest people on earth, he is one of the best businessmen in entertainment no doubt. I hit him up for advice all the fucking time. We joke about it all the time. We’re like, ‘You’re like a son to me, man.’ I hit him up like a son like, ‘Hey, what would you do?’”

“Tom Segura taught me there is power in saying no. He just said that to me. Sometimes there is power in saying no. And he’s been fucking right about that. It’s been a pleasure, that’s what it’s been. I’ve been fortunate to have a real friend.”

Sickler, of course, admitted, the two haven’t always seen eye to eye on everything. Sickler said, “I mean everybody argues a little bit. I mean I think James Brown is 5’6 and he believes he’s 6’4, right? Like we’ll never not argue about that. We’re about nine inches apart on that one, huh?” 

On January 1st, Sickler posted the very first episode of The Honey Dew Podcast on streaming platforms. The conversation-based podcast couldn’t have found a better home. Sickler has been able to deliver hilarious, meaningful, unbelievable, tear-jerking episodes with guests to fans who have been more than happy to support him. 

“I didn’t start out thinking I would be talking to people about rape or molestation. I mean, the strength to come on and make jokes about that, to find humor in that. I didn’t think I’d hear any stories like that. And I’ve heard several now. It was beaten into me that this was important. Now we got to keep doing it.”

Sickler has had incredibly powerful and hilarious conversations with the likes of Jessimae Peluso, Joey Diaz, Steven Randolph, Tommy Lee, Orlando Brown Jr., and many more. It’s through the years of comedy and podcasting that’s given Sickler the tools he needs to make his guests comfortable and willing to share. 

Sickler would eventually start a Patreon account for The Honeydew so fans could help support the product if they wanted to. Through the Patreon and show email, Sickler has received thousands of messages from fans with stories of their own. Sickler decided to create an exclusive second show for Patreon members called The Honeydew with Y’all. This was a way to not only give back, but an opportunity for Sickler to really connect with his audience. 

“I’ve had so many fans say it’s saved their life. Like, what? What do you mean? I never set out to do anything like that. I feel bad because I can’t get to all of them, but I’m honestly blessed to be flooded with so many positive messages from people about what it’s meant to them and how it’s helped them, how people have started therapy, how they’ve started not feeling sorry for themselves. Man, I’m just blown away by the positivity behind it.”

Initially, a whole other 2020 was planned for Sickler. He had tons of shows booked and was gearing up for a busy year. But as I’m sure you heard; a pandemic happened. On top of that, Sickler was moving out of YMH Studios. With a move to San Diego happening, and a pandemic, Ryan found himself in a situation he couldn’t ever have expected.

“That was a big chunk of income for me that I already had on the books. And it hit in March, so it really took away the opportunity to book anything throughout the year. And it was a considerable amount. So, we were like, what are we going to do?”

Luckily, Ryan would find a new studio to call home as he would relocate The Honeydew to the Santa Monica Music Center. 

“My old neighbor Lana (Negrete) owns the Santa Monica Music Center here where I record. She was losing people back here, so I was like, let’s help each other. So, I had my buddy Gerry Adler design the place when there was no one in here but he and I.”

Santa Monica Music Center was vandalized and looted during the riots back in June. A GoFundMe page was created for the music center in efforts to raise money for repairs. Thanks to the local community, YMH Mommies’, and Honeydewers, they were able to crush the goal and recover.

“You know you hear people say, ‘Well, back in the great depression days this is what we did.’ Well, when the Coronavirus hit, I built this fucking Honey Dew studio. I’m glad to have it,” said Sickler. 

Sickler continues to build a loyal fan base because of his personality and humor. He’s been extremely open with fans about his life for years, and they’ve been open with him also. It’s this level of honesty and realness that allows the fans to connect and stay invested in whatever he is working on. 

Laughing at pain has been therapeutic and cathartic for Ryan since he was a kid. All he’s ever known to do was find the highlights in the lowlights. It’s something we all can relate to because, in the end, haven’t we all been honeydews?


Where you can find Ryan Sickler:

https://www.youtube.com/user/rsickler

https://www.instagram.com/ryansickler/

https://www.patreon.com/TheHoneyDew

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